We stood in a verdant meadow filled with multicolor butterflies and flowering trees as the police man tried to wrestle the dying woman from my arms.
"Look up!" I shouted. The grass from the garden curved up sharply where the horizon would normally sink. The landscape continued to mountains that loomed above us and a vast lake that curved above our head and into the mist. It was hard to look up since we were clearly in a world without normal geometry. But, the sight of a cylinder world, (spinning to simulate gravity?) was enough to stun the cop out of his fixation on me and the strange woman he had shot just moments earlier in the streets of NYC. Flat and gray New York City, punctuated with yellow cabs and red lights, felt suddenly distant and irrelevant. The dark alien woman in my arms pointed to a small cabin. "in there, place me on the bed"
"You need help?" The tall young man asked me, he and several others had stepped through the door with us in confusion.
An older woman in a pink ladies summer suit was talking to the police man. She had the patrician air of a Park Ave. resident and this seemed to calm the cop for the moment.
"I don't know where the door went." She said, exasperated "We just need to stay calm until we know what this is!"
The young man guided me to the cabin. In truth, I was still in shock. But, some things were making sense.
"You are and alien and this is your home planet." I said, mostly trying the idea on for size. It sounded even crazier out loud than it did in my head.
The cabin was like those found upstate, small, with thin walls only suitable for the summer months, a jaunty stove pipe sticking from the roof. A small porch too narrow for even a rocking chair.
Inside, it was quite different (were all doors here as strange as that first portal?) White walls floor and ceiling, clinical, modular. It was so clean and white it was difficult to gauge the size of the room. The "bed" was more like a futuristic dentist's chair. Adjustable individual rests for her arms and legs. It perfectly matched her small (if round) body. Above it an arm welded to the ceiling whirred to life as soon as we placed her down. Using 4 joints the arm could reach every part of her body. Her face relaxed visibly as soon as she was in the "bed" --that is when I noticed the tubes that had connected automatically to her neck from the chair. They started clear but now were filled with red (human?) blood.
"It must be doing something for the pain." The young man said. "It's doing more than that." I said.
Outside the shack an argument between the Upper East Side lady and the cop was reaching a crescendo. They were coming towards us quickly, about to enter the cabin.
Our alien host (captor?) sat up rapidly with more strength than I thought possible. With purpose and precision she pointed at the door. Near the door a sound like a ringing bell responded to her gesture.
Relieved she slid back into the chair so that the repairs to her body could continue.
But, the cop and the woman, were still coming. "Some one needs to take charge of this-" said the cop. Then his words and body were... cut off. His arm and the front of his face disappeared as if sliced away.
As they stepped through the threshold I saw them both cleanly sliced.
It was as if they were stepping into an MRI. Every layer of their bodies became momentarily visible as they passed through the threshold, and then there was only the right foot of the lady left for a moment cut off at the ankle, bone and muscle visible, the foot still in it's pastel pink leather pump, stained with grass and mud from the meadow, sill animated and alive, hesitating. And then it too was gone.
The young man and I gasped in horror.
"Do, not worry, humans. They are alive. Back on earth. Hopefully not too far from where they came from." Then more softly she mumbled "hopefully on land as well"
I must have looked stricken because she laughed "that was a joke" She was sitting up, the mechanical arm still working frantically to repair her, the blood filled tubes still streaming from the back of here neck.
"I am not an alien, I am human like you" she said "And this is not my planet, it is my ship." I shuddered still unable to think about the policeman being sectioned. "I know you have helped me already. Thank you."
As she said this she was taking off her shirt. The young man turned around quickly, embarrassed. She smiled at me impishly "I forgot how we once were about modesty"
The mechanical arm was placing a strange almost organic bandage around her chest. She lifted her arms. The gunshot wound was shockingly clean. The bandage was white but blended to match the texture if not the color of her skin. It formed a white band below her breasts.
"This will take days to heal." She said with disgust poking the wound.
She seemed about to cry again. She rubbed her bandage "What if none of you want to be rescued?"
For the first time, she seemed very young to me and not nearly as mysterious.
"Where do I even begin? I have so much I need to tell you and no time to explain?"
She fastened the shirt back over the bandages. I tapped on the shoulder of the surprisingly prudish young man. "Come on turn around." then to both of them "Let's start with our names." I said trying to ground the conversation again. But at that moment the ground had never felt further away.